David Lowry: Just after Christmas, the Times’s science correspondent Oliver Moody provided a public and political service in exposing the worrying inadequacies of Britain’s nuclear safety and security regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). But while the article concentrated mainly on safety concerns, there are several security issues unresolved. In ONR’s latest annual report it records that: “There are areas where the duty holder’s security arrangements did not fully meet regulatory expectations.” Regarding the Sellafield facility, it continues: “A requirement to improve processes in place for Cyber Security and Information Assurance (CS&IA) was identified. A contributory factor in this area was associated with a lack of resources within CS&IA capability.” I raised these concerns at a nuclear policy roundtable seminar in the past month at the Politics Department at Cambridge University. It was here where Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe made her final appearance as energy minister, before being moved to the Treasury two days later, to be replaced by Lord Prior of Brampton. At a conference on December 6 to the International Conference on Nuclear Security in Vienna, hosted by the UN’s nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Baroness NevilleRolfe made a presentation in which she spent far more time promoting the British nuclear industry than addressing nuclear security. Indeed, even her announcement that Britain “will make a further contribution of at least £5.5 million before the end of March 2017” to the IAEA nuclear security fund should be put into the context that Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Treasury have committed at least £370m to support proliferation risky and insecure Small Modular Reactor (SMR) development in the past year.
Morning Star 11th Jan 2017 read more »